Fight Against Child Labor
Singer Bangladesh - the oldest multinational company in the country markets a wide range of Sewing Machines, consumer electronics and home appliances. In order to keep the art of sewing alive and simultaneously help the distressed women of the society, Singer Bangladesh has established The Sewing Academy. Over the years, a total of 73 Franchise Sewing Schools have been opened in different parts of the country to spread out the activities of the Sewing Academy.
It is this social commitment which inspired Singer to undertake a joint partnership agreement with ILO for training of the displaced under aged garment workers so that they can learn efficiently the art of sewing.
In accordance to International Law, Children under 14 years are not supposed to work. Consequently U.S.A. and European Union were dissatisfied with the employment of child labor in Garments Industry for which they gave constant pressure to stop it once and for all. Finally in 1999 an ultimatum was provided that if Child Labor is not stopped than all imports to U.S.A. and Europe will be annulled. As a result, thousands of under-aged children and unskilled garment workers (who are supportive to their family) were out of job. This created a big problem for the family and also to the society. Considering the situation, ILO and other Non-government organizations (NGO) took program to educate them and also provide these displaced workers with some vocational training in various fields including Sewing. Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exports Association (BGMEA) also support the ILO program.
Under this partnership agreement, a training program was organized where the under aged garment workers are provided training on sewing, cutting and embroidery. At the end of the program, which is continuing one, Certificates are awarded in a function, which is attended by ILO Officials.On completion of the vocational training on Sewing at Singer Sewing Academy, these children are again reinstated in Export Oriented Garments Industry when they reach the qualifying age (14 years). In most cases they join with better position and salary because of the skill they attain through training at Singer Sewing Academy.
Already a considerable number of Singer Sewing Academy trained students are working in various garments industries while others are retained by local Garment Industries/Tailoring Shops. In some cases with the help of NGOs they supply Garments to local boutique shops by working at their home.
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